Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jenufa at the Met

It's a fool's errand, but I want to argue with a press release. Here's what the Met sent out about Jenufa, which opens on October 28 with an excellent cast.
New York, NY (October 18, 2016) – Janáček’s psychological drama Jenůfa returns to the Met for its first revival in nearly 10 years with Oksana Dyka in the title role of a downtrodden peasant girl and Karita Mattila—noted for her performances in numerous Janáček roles at the Met, including the title role in Jenůfa—debuting a new role with the company as the formidable but unstable Kostelnička. David Robertson will conduct Janáček’s tragedy of love and death in a rural village, also starring Hanna Schwarz as Grandmother Buryja; Daniel Brenna as Laca, Jenůfa’s unreliable love interest; and Joseph Kaiser as Števa, Laca’s half-brother.
Points of contention:
  • Just how downtrodden is Jenufa? When the curtain goes up, she has a future: she is a teacher and she seems to have a fiancé.
  • Laca as unreliable: discuss. Seriously, this makes me wonder whether there is some confusion here. Števa is the drunken fool who cares more about Jenufa's looks than anything else. Yeah, Laca is the guy with the knife, but he also sticks with her despite everything that takes place in the opera. He genuinely loves her.
  • And I think that the Kostelnička's problem isn't that she is unstable. She is too rigid to imagine Jenufa's future under certain circumstances, and her solution to the problem is what sends her over the edge, because she knows she has done something terrible.
Spoiler warning: Karita is going to tear your heart out. If you like her, or you like Janáček, you've got to see this production.


Eric Pease said...

thanks for posting. i'm passing along to my east coast friends and family with your very wise advice: don't read the synopsis before the performance.

Lisa Hirsch said...

You're welcome, and I owe you email!